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Police issue urgent warning over new iOS iPhone update

Police issue urgent warning over new iOS iPhone update

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider deactivating this new iOS feature.

Police have issued an urgent warning over a new feature in the latest update of iOS.

If you're an Apple fan, you'll be well aware of the handy AirDrop feature - which lets you easily share files with nearby devices.

A new feature in the latest iteration of iOS - Apple's mobile operating system - is called 'NameDrop', and works in a very similar way.

If you've updated to the new iOS, NameDrop will be automatically enabled on your phone.
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

It lets users share their contact information quickly and easily with nearby devices. In theory, it sounds great - no longer will you have to manually input your number into a new friend/colleague/crush's phone, hoping you haven't accidentally got a digit wrong.

But police have warned there might be some serious safety risks in the new feature, which is automatically updated on devices with the new iOS.

While sharing your contact details does require a confirmation, there are plenty of scenarios where this might go awry. Maybe you're not sure what the pop up means, so you automatically click yes - inadvertently sharing your details with a stranger.

And there are potential dangers the other way around as well. It's sadly not an uncommon situation - where a woman might give a man in a bar a fake number, just so he leaves her alone. But if he insists it's done via NameDrop, he'd automatically get all of her correct details.

Watertown Police Department from Connecticut posted a warning about the new feature, saying: "With the new Apple update 'NameDrop' is enabled by default. With this feature enabled, anyone can place their phone next to yours (or your child’s phone) and automatically receive their contact information to include their picture, phone number, email address and more, with a tap of your unlocked screen."

This is what NameDrop looks like.

While the feature might be automatically enabled, luckily it's pretty easy to turn off.

"To disable this feature go to General - AirDrop - and shut off 'Bringing Devices Together'," advised Waterford Police Department.

To make sure your details are kept safe and sound, the department said: "While in the airdrop settings, make sure you have 'contacts only' set so you don’t receive unwanted pictures from strangers."

Waterford is just one in a string of police departments sending out cautions about NameDrop - with Middletown Division of Police in Ohio particularly warning parents, writing on Facebook: "Don’t forget to change these settings on your child’s phone to help keep them safe as well!"

But not everyone is so convinced that NameDrop poses that much of a threat.

In response to Watertown PD's Facebook post, one user wrote: "This is fear mongering. This is not a safety issue. You have to acknowledge the exchange."

And another agreed it was on the alarmist side: "The two devices need to be unlocked and nearly touching one another, and even then both parties need to acknowledge the exchange with a tap for it to take place."

But others were grateful for the heads up, with another user writing: "Done. Thank you for this PSA! Approval or NOT, thank you for sharing this information. Always helpful to know more than less!"

Apple has been contacted for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images/Apple